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Ever since Maradona, there had never been such a consensual best player in the world as Messi. Only Barcelona and Messi haters think otherwise. Among his fellow players and managers, there is little doubt about it. Let's look at some quotes:
“Messi is out of this planet, I would say he is so far ahead of the rest of the players playing right now and I would say historically as well. There are not words to describe him." - World Cup winner in 1978 and fellow countryman Ossie Ardiles
“Messi is starting to come to Maradona’s level and with his size people are going to compare them. They’ve every right to, he is without doubt the best player in the world at the moment.” - Liverpool legend Ian Rush
"It’s not up for debate, it’s just wrong. We are looking at a player in Messi who, when he retires, may very well be the best player to have graced the game. How can he be compared to anybody currently playing." - Diego Milito
" It's nice that people put me up there, but I think Lionel Messi is the best in the world. The things he can do with the ball are unbelievable and he is scoring a lot of goals as well. He has been fantastic again this year. He is the best player in the world." - Wayne Rooney
"To me, Messi is better than Maradona. I play with him, I see him every day, and to me he is the best. Maradona has been the best player in history and for me, Messi is even greater than he is. He is young, but has already won a lot of things; to me, he is better" - Pedro Rodriguez
"Apart from our own [players] I preferred Messi. Each game he played he made 20 chances to score, he is a phenomenon." - Vicente Del Bosque
"For me he [Messi] is the best player in the world by some distance. He is not always in the game, but when he is, he is really dangerous. Once he is on the run with the ball he is unstoppable. He's the only player in the world who can change direction at such a pace." - Arsène Wenger
"Messi is in a different world. He is the best player in this football-world, without any doubt."
- Arjen Robben
“I think that everyone will say the same things about him,” the Frenchman told uefa.com. “You just have to watch him and enjoy the show he is putting on game after game for Barcelona. He makes the difference most of the time. In particular, he is always going forwards. He never passes the ball backwards or sideways. He has only one idea, to run towards the goal. So as a football fan, just enjoy the show.” - Zinedine Zidane
"Messi is quite simply the best player in the world by a huge margin." - Pep Guardiola
Teammates, fellow players, famous managers... everyone recognizes Messi's genius. Like Zidane said, we, as football fans, show enjoy the show and watch as Messi becomes one of the best, if not the best, players of all time.